Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Alive and crafting

Garden pics...... Before and after landscaping.

It was a long job but well worth the wait.
I have been busy replanting the garden and holidaying in Malta so have not kept up with my blog!!!!
I have however also been busy with various craft pursuits. I attended another willow weaving workshop and this time I made a willow ball! Photos to follow.
I have also bought an old Ashford spinning wheel. I am very new to spinning and will need a great deal of practice and patience before I produce any useful yarn! Its very much like patting your head and rubbing your tummy!!!
I have bought myself a bike to keep me fit! Everyone says you never forget how to ride a bike but I have the bruises to prove them wrong! Can anyone explain why I now have 18 gears when 3 was always quite satisfactory? More practice required again!
Last Saturday I went to the East Sussex Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers exhibition. It was a wonderful display and I bought lots of fleece for my new hobby. I also attended a nuno felting demo and would love to have a go at that as well. So many crafts, so little time!
Must try to keep up with the blog as it helps to concentrate the mind!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Creative Surge

May was a month of creative energy, more of the 'planning and sampling' type than the actual 'doing' variety but very rewarding anyway.

We have organised a complete garden makeover, having been inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show,no doubt. Work should commence in the next week or two! This, plus the purchase of a new digital camera (the batteries in the old one would never last long enough so I ended up weighted down with lots of spare ones in my bag every time we went out!) has led to lots of 'before' photos being taken so that we can record work in progress and the finished design. Even Colin is excited and he doesn't like gardens and gardening!

I have bought a peg loom, something I have wanted for a long time. I have started a rug made from fleece tops as I thought this would be quick to make. The main fleece is a natural cream and I am introducing some hand dyed slivers here and there in a 'painterly' fashion which is very rewarding. I'm not sure how it will turn out and I'm wondering if there might be a possibility of felting it once made? Its all very experimental and as this particular fleece sheds like mad its very messy but if the sun keeps shining I may take it into the garden!
Other plans for the loom are to use up some of my yarn stash, recycle some fabrics by cutting them into strips and weaving them into rugs, shawls,cushions etc. and knitting long strips on the knitting machine and then either using them direct or felting them first! So many ideas so little time!

Last Saturday I did an experimental machine knitting workshop with Iris Bishop. We had a fabulous day playing with our machines and really pushing the boundaries! We ended up with lots of samples and endless ideas for producing fantastic fabrics including some which integrate recycled fabrics with knit weave techniques. The results were stunning and hard to believe that they were made on the knitting machine. I feel that there will be a great deal more experimenting with this technique, especially as recycling is the key word at the moment.

Speaking of recycling I did some paper making yesterday. It was actually silk paper but it started me thinking again about making paper from recycled paper, leaves, straw etc. As I am into garden mode at present I'm planning to use some flowers and leaves embedded in the paper together with lavender and rose petals to 'scent' the paper. I have done this before but not for some years so I think I'm ready to try this again. I seem to have an insatiable appetite for creativity at the moment blame it on the lovely weather and the spring with its baby birds and colourful flowers! Long may it continue!!!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Willow weaving workshop

Yesterday I had great fun learning to make a Willow Plant Support. Not quite knitting with sticks but very therapeutic (and useful!). The structures were a lot larger and more robust than we had anticipated and we had difficulty getting them into our cars at the end of the day! I think they all made it but one was hanging out of a boot rather precariously!!! Now have to source some supplies as I think this could become addictive!............

Friday, 3 April 2009

April already!!!!!!

This long cardi is knitted in Denim Chunky. It's lovely and cosy and the self patterning yarn made it a very quick project to knit.

Unfortunately the beauty of this yarn doesn't really show up on this photo. It is a heavy boucle yarn with antique look sheer ribbon tufts. I bought it in as a bulk buy, with several other colourways, on ebay last year. When it arrived I was disappointed, as it wasn't how I had imagined and was impossible to knit with on my chunky machine, so I filed it away with the rest of my stash! On rediscovering it I did some sampling and found that it would knit on every other needle providing I stopped every few rows to detach the ribbon bits from the gatepegs! It makes a super heavy fabric and I'm now wondering how to use the other colours!!
Another ebay find! This is a very soft eyelash yarn. Although it is fairly fine I didn't think the beauty of the yarn showed up very well knitted normally but when knitted on alternate needles the yarn really comes to life. This is a really soft, snuggly shoulder wrap, which is perfect for chilly spring evenings!

Last month was a month for sampling, planning and designing. Hopefully April will be a good month for knitting and finishing ongoing projects!
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Friday, 27 February 2009

February's nearly over! Felting, a cautionary tale.

Last week I embarked on a felting experiment which I had been planning for some time. Usually when making a felted jacket I knit a length of fabric, felt it in the washing machine, steam it well and then cut and sew using normal dressmaking methods. This time however I wanted to make up a waistcoat on the knitting machine and felt the whole garment.

I did all the necessary preliminaries swatching good large pieces with borders seams etc. Great!
The pieces were measured, recorded then felted. It took three washes to obtain the correct finish but I was pleased with the result! I knitted the strange oversize, loosely knitted garment and was eager to see the finished item. So eager that I decided not to wash and dry the garment three times as I had done with the trial but to wash it on a hotter, longer programme. Yes, you can imagine the result! It came out of the machine over-felted, too small and with wavy bands. I hoped I may be able to steam it into shape and give it to a smaller friend but that didn't work either. However I have learned a valuable lesson and the waistcoat is now destined to become a rather attractive bag!!!!!! (and a project for my newly acquired overlocker, by which I am still rather intimidated!!)

I have had more success with my other knitting projects this month, but despite my intention to photograph all efforts as a record of my achievements and failures I have not done so! Above are two which have made it so far.
A jacket in a cream fleck aran yarn from a pattern by Kathryn Doubrley which was published in Country Knitting of Maine News and Views and a shrug made in a self-patterning yarn, Bonus Galaxy. This yarn has a lovely sheen and drapes really well.

I have had several sleepless nights lately which have resulted in lots of ideas and designs for future this space!!!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Yesterday I attended the Stitch & Creative Crafts show at Sandown Park. There was an interesting variety of stands but many of them were card/papercraft related. Sadly there was very little knitting, hand or machine. The Guild of Machine Knitters was there with a very impressive stand and two machines working away. The team were very helpful and I hope they will recruit some new members over the next couple of days. The other Guilds represented included the Lacemakers Circle, Embroiderers Guild, Surrey Weaving, Spinning and Dying and Feltmaking by the Flews Group. I found all the representatives on these stands extremely friendly and helpful.

As there was little wool available to add to my stash I bought some packs of hand-dyed silk tops and laps and silk carrier rods with the intention of experimenting more with felt and silk paper making. Hopefully I will post the results soon. I am trying to motivate myself more this year!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Multi-coloured shrug

This was my first design for a shawl/jacket. I have called it a shrug, although it isn't technically. I'm not too sure of the exact definition of a shrug. It was knitted on my Brother 260 in an industrial boucle yarn with black eyelash trim. It has been avery successful garment and the design has been altered and adapted many times. I will add some more designs when time allows.
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